[This publication was originally intended to be a supplementary article. However, due to the constraints of time, other articles in this series were prioritized while this one was set aside. For a greater understanding of context, please read "The Unjust Condemnation of the Great Barrington Declaration." click here see the paragraphs below "Focused-protection is not 'logistically infeasible' as some have claimed."]
Housing subsidies are not a ban on private property, they might actually pay for themselves, and they are not a hinderance to liberty but a form of empowerment. The following is a rough idea of one way in which housing subsidies could maximize the fairness, accommodation, and universal benefits of public welfare. The National HomeOwners Association Trust (NHOAT) is a concept modeled on the established method of maintaining privately owned condominiums.
Under a contemporary Homestead Act, government subsidies could be used to build new structures and renovate existing ones, along with purchasing apartment complexes that are currently in use (without coercion), to facilitate a surplus of "rent-free" housing in addition to home ownership. With the exception of people who have qualifying disabilities, most residents would still be responsible for a monthly stipend, along with their utilities. However, the bill for this stipend would not include the profit motive of a landlord-tenant relationship, and there would be no need for mortgage payments. The recipients of this welfare would also own their residential unit just like the residents of condos that are facilitated by private sector Homeowners associations (HOAs). This crucial detail is empowering to the residents, and it instills a sense of pride that will likely benefit the upkeep of the physical structure. Other policies, like the promotion of civic engagement in addition to the facilitation of employment and the development of sought-after skills, would be constructive as well.
If properly implemented, housing subsidies would be less of a burden to taxpayers than other forms of welfare. Housing choice vouchers, for example, divert resources to room-and-board costs and the interest rates of mortgages. The combination of a contemporary Homestead Act and NHOAT would likely utilize government funding more efficiently.
The residents of subsidized housing should contribute more to the maintenance and repair of their home than the remainder of taxpayers who benefit less directly from the housing. This can be achieved with a National HomeOwners Association Trust (NHOAT), which would facilitate the collection, management and distribution of funds derived from a monthly stipend. This stipend would be sponsored by the residents themselves to reduce government spending. The collection and appropriation of NHOAT funds would need to be organized locally, with a separation of duties and with some government oversite, following a model roughly based on condominium HOAs.
This kind of planning would create financial stability to empower individuals, making exploitation more difficult to achieve in the process. The Covid-19 pandemic provides ample evidence against the notion that welfare itself gives the government control over the community. Individuals are dependent on their income, which, in most cases, translates to dependence on an employer. Most people do not have the ability or the know-how to support themselves independently. Employers can be pressured to exercise economic leverage on their employees just as easily as recipients of welfare can be directly coerced by the government, and employers can mandate directives which the government cannot. On the other hand, Sweden's COVID policies have demonstrated that there is no correlation between liberty and welfare.
Hypothetically speaking, if the US minimum wage was reduced over time, US labor would be more competitive in the global market. This would likely lead to a reduction in protectionism and increased revenue. Without the extraction of room and board, the cost of living would decrease dramatically, which would enable a comfortable standard of living on a much lower income. Sweden, a country which is known for its outstanding social safety net and high standard of living, does not have a government-mandated minimum wage [click here].
Being one of the basic needs, adequate housing probably saves more lives than medical treatment, making its endowment of the utmost importance. Extensive housing subsidies will likely play a crucial role in the capability of democracy to compete with totalitarian communism, economically, politically, and militarily, in the years to come. Therefore, deconstructing the institution of room-and-board extraction is vital to the longevity of freedom. Time is a significant factor as well.
(Article changed on Dec 05, 2021 at 3:06 PM EST)